Heritage

Malabar Headland

Item details

Name of item: Malabar Headland
Other name/s: Long Bay Rifle Range, Anzac Rifle Range, Boora Point
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -33.9583543090 Long: 151.2629874980
Primary address: Franklin Street, Malabar, NSW 2036
Parish: Botany
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Randwick
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT201 DP1175914
LOT202 DP1175914
LOT102 DP1176017
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Franklin StreetMalabarRandwickBotanyCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Randwick City CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

Malabar Headland contains two significant bushland remnants - referred to as the coastal section and the western section. Together, these contain what is probably the largest area of essentially unmodified bushland in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. The bushland is a significant part of one of two semi-natural corridors between Botany Bay and Port Jackson. The two sections support at least seven distinct plant communities. This diversity of habitats is only matched in the Eastern Suburbs in Botany Bay National Park.

The vegetation communities of Malabar Headland are of scientific and educational significance because they contain rare examples of coastal communities growing on Pleistocene sand deposits within the Sydney region. These communities have different species composition to those found elsewhere in the Sydney region.

Both the coastal and western sections of Malabar Headland support a high diversity of plant species, with species composition reflecting changes in aspect.
At least three hundred plant species occur within the place and only fifty percent of the place's flora is common to both sections.

Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub, a nationally endangered ecological community occurs as heath and scrub in the coastal section and as a low woodland in the more protected western section. Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub is regarded as of extremely high conservation significance, due to the extent of previous clearing. The community was once common on Quarternary sands in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney; now less than one percent of the original community remains and is restricted to Malabar Headland and La Perouse.

The western section contains remnants of dunes believed to have been formed as a result of the last major glacial period. These occur adjacent to sandstone outcrops and provide an opportunity to study the place's geomorphological formation.

Malabar Headland demonstrates much of the range of landscapes which originally occurred in the Eastern Suburbs, including coastal rock platforms, sea cliffs and headlands in the coastal section, and sandstone escarpments and aeolian sand dunes in the western section.

The place contains the last known population of the once extensive Port Jackson mallee (EUCALYPTUS OBSTANS, formerly OBTUSIFLORA) in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

The place includes a World War Two coastal defence site of historic significance, the Boora Point Battery. This is an imposing, purpose built coastal landmark which is important for providing tangible evidence of Australia's coastal defence efforts in the Sydney area during World War Two (Criterion A.4)(Australian Historic Themes: 7.7 Defending Australia). The battery features a number of particularly unusual attributes, including a rare example of 6 inch Mark XII gun mountings, a completely underground counter bombardment facility, with gun crew ready rooms, ammunition supply and engine room and a small gauge sunken railway associated with an imposing observation post (Criterion B.2). The battery has particular social significance to World War Two veterans and those involved in its war time operations, or interested in the history of fortifications (Criterion G.1). The area includes a number of additional sites of cultural heritage value, including World War Two graffiti, and features associated with a significant town service - the south-west ocean outfall sewer (Criterion C.2).

http://www.deh.gov.au
Date significance updated: 08 Dec 04
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Branch intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Physical description: Malabar Headland is comprised of two sections of bushland: an eastern coastal section of approximately 54ha on the Peninsula seaward edge and a smaller western section of approximately 15ha located approximately 1km inland. Both sections contain remnant coastal vegetation communities of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub growing on Pleistocene sand. The vegetation on the eastern edge of the Peninsula ranges from low open scrub of less than 1m high on exposed rock to tall open scrub of up to three metres in height in more sheltered situations. The predominant large scrub species are heath banksia (BANKSIA ERICIFOLIA), coast tea tree (LEPTOSPERMUM LAEVIGATUM), scrub she oak (ALLOCASUARINA DISTYLA), MELALEUCA ARMILLARIS and wallum banksia (BANKSIA AEMULA). On exposed cliff edges the vegetation is low scrub of coast rosemary (WESTRINGIA FRUTICOSA) and spiny headed mat rush (LOMANDRA LONGIFOLIA). In areas of impeded drainage dagger hakea (HAKEA TERETIFOLIA) and bottlebrush (CALLISTEMON LINEARIS) occur with a ground cover of sedges. The western section contains heath and scrub communities ranging from less than one metre to 3m-4m in height. The main shrubs are heath banksia, M.ARMILLARIS and tick bush (KUNZEA AMBIGUA). More sheltered sites in the north-east gully support a low woodland dominated by red bloodwood (CORYMBIA GUMMIFERA). The high diversity of plant species found in this section of the Long Bay area is the result of the combination of sand sheet and sandstone soils which occur here. The vegetation communities of the Long Bay area provide a habitat for small mammals, reptiles and birds. Although no detailed faunal surveys have been carried out in the area, field observations have noted a diverse bird and small reptile fauna.

On Boora Point are the remains of a coastal defence establishment constructed in 1943. There are remains of concrete walls of two gun emplacements with associated rooms and tramway tunnels, northern and southern searchlight blockhouses and engine rooms, a battery observation post and associated barracks and toilet blocks. There is a rare example of 6 inch Mark XII gun mountings. There are remnants and sites of many other structures and a sandstone lined cutting of a tramway. Graffiti dating from World War Two can be seen. A large wind generator, erected in 1987 by the Department of Minerals and Energy as experimental apparatus, was removed in July 2000. Relics of the south-west ocean outfall sewer exist in the area.
http://www.deh.gov.au
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The vegetation is in good condition. The NSW Scientific Committee has stated that the threats to the survival of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Community include fragmentation, development, increased nutrient status, inappropriate fire regimes, invasion by exotic plants, grazing by horses and rabbits, erosion from use of bicycles, motorcycles and from excessive pedestrian use. The principal weed species found in the place; pampas grass, lantana and bitou bush, have been greatly reduced by a volunteer bush regeneration program. Weed reduction is more obvious in the coastal section of the headland. Limited dumping of garden refuse continues. Feral animals, including rabbits, cats and dogs are present on the headland. Periodic fires occur in both sections of the headland, although there are no signs that species diversity has yet been affected. Increasing the frequency of fire events combined with unrestricted trail bike activity will, however, lead to further fragmentation of the vegetation and is a key threatening process to the long-term viability of the vegetation community.

Although access to the place is restricted for safety reasons, the headland is used for passive recreational pursuits such as walking.. The effect of trail bike riding is noticeable in the widening of tracks and the creation of jump obstacles. Evidence of vandalism is widespread. Obvious examples include recent graffiti covering the historic fortifications and the dumping and burning of cars. Condition assessed 2000.
http://www.deh.gov.au
Date condition updated:08 Dec 04
Current use: public recreation, nature conservation
Former use: public recreation, military purposes

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal people are believed to have inhabited the Sydney region for at least 20,000 years (Turbet, 2001). The population of Aboriginal people between Palm Beach and Botany Bay in 1788 has been estimated to have been 1500. Those living south of Port Jackson to Botany Bay were the Cadigal people who spoke Dharug (Randwick Library webpage, 2003), while the local clan name of Maroubra people was "Muru-ora-dial" (City of Sydney webpage, 2003). By the mid nineteenth century the traditional owners of this land had typically either moved inland in search of food and shelter, or had died as the result of European disease or confrontation with British colonisers (Randwick Library webpage, 2003).

pre-1780s - local Aboriginal people in the area used the site for fishing and cultural activities - rock engravings, grinding grooves and middens remain in evidence.
1789 - Governor Philip referred to 'a long bay', which became known as Long Bay.
1820s - Crown grant for 'Church and School Lands' of 1730ha included the nominated area.
1855 - village reserve set aside at Long Bay.
1850s - recreational shooting began on the rifle range site.
1859 - Randwick Minicipal Council created, covering the nominated area.
1861 - Church & School Lands resumed by the Crown and land sales begin.
1888 - recreational target shooting reported to be in action.
1898 - the Hereward wrecked on cliff base
1899 - the Tokapo wrecked on cliff base.
1902 - NSW Government reaffirmed public recreation reserves in the nominated area.
1910 - NSW Government dedicated the whole headland for military purposes.
1916 - a cliff face ocean outfall for sewerage established south of the nominated area.
1919 - a permanent rifle range site was surveyed on the site.
1929 - control of the rifle range was transferred to the Commonwealth.
1931 - the MV Malabar wrecked near Boora Point, and the name quickly adopted for the local village to distinguish it from Long Bay Gaol.
1939-1945 - various military installations (c43 in number) built on the site, notably the Boora Point Battery.
1951 - Cumberland County Plan zoned the nominated rea as 'special uses'.
1967 - NSW Rifle Association clubs transferred to the site from Holsworthy.
1968-1988 - rifle range site used for extensive land fill operations, possibly from nearby industrial sites.
1970 - name of the area changed to Anzac Rifle Range.
1986 - Commonwealth announced intention to dispose of property, and official military use ceased.
1980s - the name Malabar Headland began to be used after early natural vegetation surveys began.
1990s - legal action undertaken by NSW Rifle Association to prevent disposal of the site.

One of the earliest land grants in this area was made in 1824 to Captain Francis Marsh, who received 12 acres bounded by the present Botany & High Streets, Alison & Belmore Roads. In 1839 William Newcombe acquired the land north-west of the present town hall in Avoca Street.

Randwick takes its name from the town of Randwick, Gloucestershire, England. The name was suggested by Simeon Pearce (1821-86) and his brother James. Simeon was born in the English Randwick and the brothers were responsible for the early development of both Randwick and its neighbour, Coogee. Simeon had come to the colony in 1841as a 21 year old surveyor. He built his Blenheim House on the 4 acres he bought from Marsh, and called his property "Randwick". The brothers bought and sold land profitably in the area and elsewhere. Simeon campaigned for construction of a road from the city to Coogee (achieved in 1853) and promoted the incorporation of the suburb. Pearce sought construction of a church modelled on the church of St. John in his birthplace. In 1857 the first St Jude's stood on the site of the present post office, at the corner of the present Alison Road and Avoca Street (Pollen, 1988, 217-8).

Randwick was...slow to progress. The village was isolated from Sydney by swamps and sandhills, and although a horse-bus was operated by a man named Grice from the late 1850s, the journey was more a test of nerves than a pleasure jaunt. Wind blew sand over the track, and the bus sometimes became bogged, so that passengers had to get out and push it free. From its early days Randwick had a divided society. The wealthy lived elegantly in large houses built when Pearce promoted Randwick and Coogee as a fashionable area. But the market gardens, orchards and piggeries that continued alongside the large estates were the lot of the working class. Even on the later estates that became racing empires, many jockeys and stablehands lived in huts or even under canvas. An even poorer group were the immigrants who existed on the periphery of Randwick in a place called Irishtown, in the area now known as The Spot, around the junction of St.Paul's Street and Perouse Road. Here families lived in makeshift houses, taking on the most menial tasks in their struggle to survive.

In 1858 when the NSW Government passed the Municipalities Act, enabling formation of municipal districts empowered to collect rates and borrow money to improve their suburb, Randwick was the first suburb to apply for the status of a municipality. It was approved in Februrary 1859, and its first Council was elected in March 1859.

Randwick had been the venue for sporting events, as well as duels and illegal sports, from the early days in the colony's history. Its first racecourse, the Sandy Racecourse or Old Sand Track, had been a hazardous track over hills and gullies since 1860. When a move was made in 1863 by John Tait, to establish Randwick Racecourse, Simeon Pearce was furious, expecially when he heard that Tait also intended to move into Byron Lodge. Tait's venture prospered, however and he became the first person in Australia to organise racing as a commercial sport. The racecourse made a big difference to the progress of Randwick. The horse-bus gave way to trams that linked the suburb to Sydney and civilisation. Randwick soon became a prosperous and lively place, and it still retains a busy residential, professional and commercial life.

Today, some of the houses have been replaced by home units. Many European migrants have made their homes in the areaa, along with students and workers at the nearby University of NSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital. (ibid, 218-9).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Scientific: Geoperiod Quarternary Epoch Pleistocene 10 000 to 1.7 million years ago-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Natural landscapes valued by humans-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Maintaining maritime transport routes-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Defending the homeland-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Observing and looking out for enemy movements-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Training civilian militia-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Malabar Headland is of State significance as the place includes a World War Two coastal defence site of State significance, the Boora Point Battery. This is an imposing, purpose built coastal landmark which is important for providing tangible evidence of Australia's coastal defence efforts in the Sydney area during World War Two. http://www.deh.gov.au

The Aboriginal heritage vlaues of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
N.B. The Aboriginal heritage values of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
N.B. The Aboriginal heritage values of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Malabra Headland is of State significance as the extant battery has particular social significance to World War Two veterans and those involved in its war time operations, or interested in the history of fortifications.

The Aboriginal heritage vlaues of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Malabar Headland is of State significance as it contains the largest area of diverse native bushland in the Sydney's Eastern Suburbs matched only by Botany Bay National Park and is one of few remaining examples of vegetation communities that were present prior to European occupation. http://www.deh.gov.au

The Aboriginal heritage vlaues of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Malabar Headland is of State significance as the extant battery features a number of particularly unusual attributes, including a rare example of 6 inch Mark XII gun mountings, a completely underground counter bombardment facility, with gun crew ready rooms, ammunition supply and engine room and a small gauge sunken railway associated with an imposing observation post. The site also contains the only known population of the rare Port Jackson Mallee, and populations of the endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub. http://www.deh.gov.au

The Aboriginal heritage vlaues of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
N.B. The Aboriginal heritage values of the Malabar Headland are still being identified in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
Integrity/Intactness: good-high - http://www.deh.gov.au
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0174122 Jul 05 933907
Register of the National EstateLong Bay Area1420711 Aug 87   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Writtenanon.1985Randwick: a social history
WrittenAustralian Heritage Commission1987Long Bay Area - Register of the National Estate listing View detail
WrittenBibby, Paul2012'Court shoots down plan to shift rifle range and create a park', in The Sydney Morning Herald - Courts
WrittenCooper, D.M.1909History of Randwick 1859-1909
WrittenFriends of Malabar Headland2002Proposal for Boora National Park on Malabar Headland View detail
WrittenPerumal Murphy1989Randwick Heritage Study
WrittenPerumal Murphy Wu Pty Ltd2000Randwick Conservation Areas Assessment and Recommendations
WrittenPollon, F. & Healy, G.1988Randwick entry, in 'The Book of Sydney Suburbs'
WrittenWinston, Denis1957Sydney's Great Experiment: the progress of the Cumberland County Plan

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5056225
File number: H04/00380, 12/12040


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